Category: Open innovation

Practices and visions on how to develop and make open innovation work

Collaborative business modelsInnovationInnovative cultureOpen innovationStrategy

Destination Models 3.0: Development strategies (II)

Open Innovation system development

Being one of the key assets to invigorate creativity and sustain the destination model competitive advantage, it is necessary to design a set of strategies to engage stakeholders in contributing up to leveraging the most of the collective intelligence. The open innovation platform is to unlock the creativity of all stakeholders, starting by its employees, followed by its closer partners, and beyond.

One of the key factors to make the open innovation work is to constantly connect with external networks, which are more likely to bring in new ideas than creativity alone. Based on the same principle, encouraging the network members to travel, research and learn about other destinations should nurture the innovation ecosystem with inspiring ideas.

Most productive innovation networks are characterized by a decentralized structure with many leaders who have collaborative mindsets. Such decentralization not only unlocks initiative and creativity, but also fosters further interaction and collaboration among the network members.

When developing the open innovation system there are four critical steps to follow from the design phase, to the execution and management of the network:

Connecting and organizing people:

  • Find open minded people who are motivated for innovation
  • Combine people with different approaches to innovation (idea generators, experts, producers)
  • Make sure there are members with different profile in terms of skills, seniority, and field of expertise
  • Include subgroups devoted to specific tasks and goals

Setting goals and engaging members:

  • Define the role of the innovation network and groups in relation to the organization’s mission
  • Establish innovation goals and metrics to track progress
  • Plan how to establish trust among network members and engage them quickly

Supporting and facilitating:

  • Determine technology support required for network members
  • Define additional support if necessary
  • Define key information inputs

Managing and tracking:

  • Define incentive system to reward contributions
  • Determine accountabilities and timing to track and assess performance
  • Decide who takes new responsibilities and who leaves responsibilities

When composing innovation teams for specific purposes such as business model innovation, some rules should be applied. For instance, there should be a balance between four kinds of contributors:

  • Idea generators, who come up with out-of-the-box approaches and questions to start with
  • Researchers, who bring along an analytical perspective based upon market insights
  • Experts, who bring deep knowledge in their field of expertise
  • Producers, who coordinate the activities of the network and connect with people from outside

Furthermore, mixing people from different backgrounds -in terms of education, culture, and industry expertise- is likely to bring along different approaches when trying to solve complicated challenges.

To start operating the open innovation platform, there are many steps to be followed:

  • Guarantee internet access to all internal stakeholders (partners and employees)
  • Train them on how to use the tools
  • Set up content creation contests for experiences, stories and marketing materials; setting clear rules to make sure they are aligned with the values and the mission. Everybody should be empowered to start their own story or to collaborate with others’.
  • Storytelling facilitation: stakeholders would attend training workshops on how to write stories
  • Training on business model innovation methods and frameworks to establish a common language
  • Presenting a story and other marketing contents as successful cases to inspire participation

Would you consider any other step in the development of the open innovation system?

Co-creationCollaborative business modelsIntelligenceIntelligence methodsMarketing 3.0

Destination Marketing 3.0: Mobile Apps 3.0

As an essential tool for empowering tourists to contribute and participate in the collaborative marketing system, the Mobile Apps 3.0 would enable tourists to write reviews and rate immediately after the experience, vote and participate in content creation contests, make bookings and search for information about the destination.

The Mobile App 3.0 would not only be a supporting tool for the communication between the tourist and the destination, but also a tool to encourage tourists to become co-creators of the destination experience and to engage them in the mission accomplishment. Other functions of the Mobile App could be augmented reality features, geo-localization, video & photo uploading, map download, nearby deal pop-up service, etc.

This is to be developed for DMOs only, to take profit of the investment being supported by many stakeholders, and to offer the tourist a comprehensive service.

What kind of obstacles do you envision to make the Mobile Apps 3.0 an effective tool?

Co-creationCollaborative cultureInnovative cultureMarketing 3.0Open innovation

Destination Marketing 3.0: Co-creation workshops

Beyond the content creation contests to be carried out in the virtual collaborative platform, co-creation should be also facilitated and explained through educational workshops, especially for the enthusiast stakeholders. In co-creation workshops, attendants would learn how to cooperate in creating marketing designs for merchandising products, and tourism products based on life-changing experiences.

The marketing design co-creation workshops would be carried out by expert designers who would provide training on the design techniques to facilitate the development of artistic skills among the interested stakeholders. They would also be trained in team working to facilitate cooperation.

The product co-creation workshops would be organized by the Product Managers, who would explain the development process and key success factors for creating life-changing tourist experiences according to the mission of the destination, as explained in the Product development strategy section. This would be mandatory for local service suppliers, who should be mixed with other stakeholders to balance the co-creation process with a similar amount of inside developers and outside developers.

Co-creation workshops should be organized by DMO as a way of promoting product development throughout the destination, with the participation of local DMC. However, this idea could also be developed by DMCs themselves, even individually as long as they can gather enough contributors.

Do you envision other possible contributors or other possible outputs out of the co-creation workshops?

 

Co-creationMarketing 3.0Open innovationTourism marketing

Destination Marketing 3.0: Content creation contests

Let people vote for stories, experiences and other ideas through the social networks or mobile apps. Reviews and ratings are the key brand performance indicators applying to both experiences and stories. Because community members risk their reputations when giving reviews, only brands with high integrity are likely to obtain good reviews and ratings. Destination executives’ role is to ensure the brand integrity rather than trying to stimulate reviews by sponsoring them, which could be regarded as manipulation.

To develop an “exigent” rating system, community members could only vote for one, two or three stories, and would be rewarded if their nominated stories were eventually awarded, to motivate them to read carefully and make thoughtful ratings.

Such contests could be based on existing platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, etc. This way, the created content is more likely to become viral and foster the destination’s brand awareness and image throughout the social networks, as well as to draw new visitors to the destination website and getting to know the creative activists better. Contests are rather suitable for DMOs, considering the necessary budget and infrastructure, though school based contests could be far more affordable, also for medium sized DMCs.

Do you envision other tactics to encourage online contribution in the content creation process?

Business model innovationCo-creationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureOpen innovation

Destination Models 3.0: Key partnerships

As collaborative models, destination models 3.0 are based upon leveraging the potential of an extensive partner network, where we may find several kinds of profiles:

  • Service suppliers are mainly the local micro-entrepreneurs that are to become the backbone of the destination model, providing accommodation, food & beverage and activities. They are the main experience providers, and the ones who bring along hospitality and authenticity to the destination. Here, the destination model intends to foster entrepreneurship in the base of the pyramid to alleviate poverty. These are to be the bulk of the partner network, helping the platform in the development of economies of scale. However, it would also welcome experienced professionals to gain know-how, and for some critical activities such as the organization of events.
  • Sponsors could be an extra source of revenue, so long as their business activities are also aligned with the destination model’s mission and vision.
  • Tour-operators and travel agents are likely to become key partners especially along the early development stages of the destination model, as explained in the Marketing Channels section.
  • Non profit organizations bring in the know how on addressing the environmental or social challenges set up in the mission, as well as workforce and funding in some cases. They also hold a high credibility to act as brand ambassadors.
  • Volunteers bring in extra workforce to accomplish the social or environmental missions, guided by the non profit organizations partnering with the destination. Furthermore, volunteering may be also used to assess many potential employees or potential partners, thus playing a strategic role.
  • Government should take a key role in facilitating the development of the destination model, and if possible as a long-term investor or guarantor. At a minimum, it should guarantee a harmonized urban landscape by carrying out the necessary investments and adapting the regulations.
  • Opinion leaders such as bloggers, journalists and other influencers will be the first who will spread the stories to their followers. They are key players in the starting-up of the marketing system.
  • Community leaders in the role of influencers to engage the rest of the community, and then to participate in the creation of experiences and stories for the destination.
  • Educational institutions may be valuable partners, from the primary school level in the story creation to the vocational school level in the training for entrepreneurship in the base of the pyramid. They may also be a source of volunteers through educational volunteering programs.
  • Strategy consultants may be necessary to provide guidance in the management and the business model innovation.
  • Financial institutions may be needed to provide funding for investments in infrastructure and facilities. Further, they could provide micro-loans to the entrepreneurs in the base of the pyramid.
  • Investors may be necessary whenever expensive infrastructures and facilities need to be built. As explained in section 3, it is critical to sell the destination model vision in order to attract long-term oriented investors, as well as to create a two-tier shareholding structure limiting power to the short-term oriented investors.
  • Land owners are likely to be critical partners, to be fully integrated as shareholders to the platform as long as possible, engaging them for the long term. These are among the first partners that need to be attracted, accounting for one of the key success factors to start-up the business model development.
  • Storytelling facilitators are key players in destination models 3.0, for they are to help all stakeholders in developing their storytelling skills. These could be partners or platform employees, as they not only should be required to train new partners, but also to offer storytelling workshops as one of the life-changing experiences offered in the destination.

This section should explain all kinds of partners that the model intends to attract, specifying which value they bring in and how they are to be rewarded. They should be specified their kind of expected participation within the open innovation system, considering the possibility of using the innovation system for inside-out innovation, leveraging the collective intelligence to their advantage, under previously specified conditions. In the case of the local service suppliers, there should be specified their rights and obligations they have to comply with to become platform’s partners.

Would you consider any other type of partner?

Co-creationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureInnovationInnovative culture

Destination Marketing 3.0: designing life-changing experiences

When designing life-changing experiences, these are to be thought of from the view that their life-changing purpose is what makes them unique and more attractive, not just a matter of social responsibility, because the tourists really want to experience the transformation.

There are many stages to follow when designing the life-changing experiences:

  • Define constituents, the receivers who benefit from the activity (women, children/youth, elderly, minorities, BoP, tourists, etc.)
  • The life-changing effect that the experience intends to create for the tourists (raising awareness about certain issue, opening mind, etc.)
  • Try to include storytelling exercises as a part of the experience, as a strategic part to foster the generation of new stories
  • The activity through which the experience is delivered
  • The necessary resources and preparation to make it successful
  • Carry out the feasibility plan of the product
  • Get feedback from creative activists after living the experience, on how to improve it.
  • Pay attention to insights and inputs delivered through the open innovation system, in the product co-creation contests and on an ongoing basis –reviews, free contributions, etc.-.

There has to be a Product Manager responsible for controlling the adequacy of the ideas being developed, to help improve & refine them, and to invigorate the open innovation system. The Product Manager would also be in charge of selecting and managing channel partners, benchmarking and customer feedback.

Beyond the tourism programs, the Product Manager should also be responsible for developing volunteer programs in cooperation with NGOs, to reinforce the mission driven positioning of the destination and to add human power to accelerate the mission accomplishment.

The co-creation process is to be carried out in a very different way depending on whether we talk about DMC or DMO, as well as depending on their size and budget. For instance, an open innovation system is likely to be suitable only for regional or nationwide DMOs in cooperation with the destination’s DMCs. For minor DMOs or DMCs, co-creation should be developed through workshops.

What kind of life-changing experiences do you envision?

Co-creationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureCulture changeInnovative culture

Destination Marketing 3.0: Product development through co-creation

Co-creation is the new approach to product development. Tourists want to personalize the experience according to their own unique needs and desires. Destinations provide a platform experience as of a generic product, which is somehow customizable by tourists, and by observing how they customize their experiences, the platform eventually develops a portfolio of experiences customized to the needs and motivations of various types of tourists, though still flexible.

Product co-creation is developed mainly through the open innovation system, where stakeholders participate motivated by the will to contribute to the mission accomplishment, and also by the will to showcase their creative skills and gain reputation among the community. Marketing 3.0 intends to leverage these motivators to foster co-creation of experiences and continuous improvement in collaboration with the local service suppliers to keep on enhancing the destination’s offered value.

The co-creation takes place in a collaborative platform as part of the open innovation system where locals may offer their experiences and they receive reviews, ratings and advice from destination product managers on how to make it better. To train stakeholders in the co-creation process, special workshops could be organized, where the key factors to successful product development are explained.

To create life-changing experiences, contributors should start by gaining a deep understanding of the mission statement as a basis for discerning what kind of experiences could be suitable. Further, by listening to stories they can understand what kind of experiences create a life-changing impact on the receivers and thus inspire new experiences by leveraging the contributors’ imagination from the open innovation system. The fact that brand enthusiasts are empowered to participate in the co-creation process spurs their commitment and their will for spreading the stories, as they are also willing to let everybody know about their contributions.

What main challenges do you foresee in the co-creation of tourism experiences?

Business model innovationCo-creationCollaborative business modelsInnovationOpen innovation

Destination Models 3.0: Key activities & management (I)

Destination models 3.0 are complex in nature, and so it is the system of activities that need to be coordinated and managed to sustain its competitive advantage and make the destination model develop to the utmost of its potential.

The open innovation system is the central activity that nurtures and sustains the competitive advantage of the business model, from which many kinds of outcomes are expected:

  • Business model innovation: revamping the model through constant brainstorming, reflection and discussion about improvements in either of the building blocks to achieve current goals, or to analyze new approaches to pursue the mission, improve profitability, streamline operations and adapt to the ever changing environment, foreseeing in advance the upcoming challenges and opportunities. The collaborative system should empower new leaders to drive new initiatives with the cooperation and support of the other stakeholders. Participation is limited to qualified stakeholders, also considering crowdsourcing initiatives opened to networks of external experts. Training on business model innovation methodologies should be considered to set a common framework for facilitating discussion.
  • Co-creation of experiences: opened to all stakeholders, this section should feature vibrant discussions where mainly local entrepreneurs and enthusiast tourists exchange and pre-test ideas on new life-changing experiences to be developed in the destination. There could be contests to stimulate participation of the largest extent of stakeholders.
  • Story creation: also opened to all stakeholders, this section could feature story creation contests in many formats such as videos, podcasts, text, to be developed individually or in groups. Participation of bloggers would be encouraged through the organization of blogger trips, especially during the initial stages of the destination’s development. This section requires particular attention from the platform managers, as it is the “content marketing machine” upon which the destination model relies to attract and engage new stakeholders over time.
  • Marketing contents and designs: this section could encompass the development of an image bank or several collections of designs, to be eventually used in merchandising or marketing materials. Participation in this section could be stimulated through creation contests or crowdsourcing to professional photographers and designers. For the image bank, key influencers such as the “Instagramers” could be invited to the destination as with bloggers and journalists.

Beyond the platform managers’ initiatives to invigorate the innovation system, individual initiatives should also be eventually rewarded through a pre-determined incentive system. In this regard, platform leaders should orientate the innovation efforts towards the mission driven goals and identified challenges and opportunities in the business model innovation forum.

Beyond giving empowerment, the platform leaders’ role is to inspire others and provide facilitation and support to develop skills such as story creation and storytelling. Further, they should control that the initiatives are well aligned with the mission, prioritizing its accomplishment over other goals, to preserve the integrity of the brand. Such control, in fact, should be carried out by all stakeholders. Platform leaders should deeply assume that empowering stakeholders consists also in sharing power with them.

Do you envision any other interesting output to be obtained from the open innovation system?

Co-creationInnovative cultureMarketing 3.0Open innovationTourism marketing

Destination Models 3.0: Customer relationships (II)

This open innovation system is the core of the destination marketing 3.0, becoming the central hub where all communities get connected, and fulfilling the need for connection with other consumers in communities. These communities are the ones which guarantee that the business will ultimately serve the customer’s interests and concerns, and not just the business profit. It is through this community initiative and collaboration that the platform becomes a “content marketing machine” where people create, share and inspire each other to live and tell new stories.

Finally, business models need to develop their unique DNA that reflects the brand’s identity through the social networks, targeting the mind of the consumers and intending to be relevant to their needs. Then, they have to stick to their brand promise delivering experiences up to their claims, prioritizing the mission accomplishment, to keep the brand’s integrity and reach the spirit of the consumers.

Failing to comply with the stakeholders expectations will eventually lead to losing their credibility and hence their engagement. This should be complemented with a brand image whose values appeal to the consumers’ emotional needs. All together is what leads consumers and other stakeholders to experience, engage and eventually become brand ambassadors. Only originality, integrity and authenticity will be effective.

From the operational perspective, such open innovation ecosystem would be based on technological platforms –either existing or proprietary- where to held content creation contests -photo, video, stories, poems, etc.- and collaborative creation processes to further refine the content and integrate insights from various stakeholders.

In this section, the model should explain what kind of relationships it intends to establish with each customer segment, whether they are to be passive receivers or active contributors, specifying what kinds of contributions are expected -co-creation, story delivery, contest participation and voting, etc.-.

Do you think that destinations usually leverage their client’s creative and influential power?

Business model innovationCo-creationCollaborative business modelsInnovationMarketing 3.0

Destination Models 3.0: Customer relationships (I)

The new marketing paradigm shifts from control to collaboration. It turns from vertical to horizontal, as most consumers trust other consumers rather than businesses: word of mouth and social media are at the core of new customer relationships. Businesses no longer control their brands, as these are owned by the customers and are developed through collaboration among them all.

All what companies do is aligning their actions to their corporate mission and empowering costumers to become active agents in the accomplishment of the mission as brand controllers and innovators, hence ultimately becoming brand ambassadors. To approach customers’ human spirit, these have to view the business as a change agent that strives to make the world a better place according to their concerns. Then, as long as the mission is successfully accomplished and there is a growing awareness about such accomplishment, the destination’s brand becomes a symbol within the stakeholders’ lives.

Marketing 3.0 is based upon co-creation, communitization and characters. Customers and other stakeholders take an active role in the development of experiences and stories through collaborative innovation platforms. Starting from a generic experience, every tourist can tailor it to his needs and motivations, and eventually share it with the community explaining his story and thus nurturing the innovation system with new ideas. For a brand to become a symbol, it needs that its stories create great characters with whom the stakeholders feel identified, as they strive and manage to address the community challenges and concerns.

Beyond photo sharing in social media, word of mouth, ratings and reviews for specific services such as restaurants and accommodation, do you think that there is ever any chance for tourists to contribute on the destination’s marketing?